December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

Fluffy and I were hanging out last night and I was sad that I won't be spending the dawn of the New Year with her. She wouldn't have anyone to spend it with and that bums me out. But then I realized she doesn't notice milestones. She's a cat.

I've been very fortunate to spend many new year's eves with wonderful people- close friends and dear loves. I can't be luckier. I wish you the same. Happy 2010. May it be filled with peace.

December 29, 2009

Looking Back Doesn't Take You Forward

Today at work we had what is called "First Hour" where the director, designers and artistic director sit up on stage and talk about the next play we are going to mount. The whole company gets to meet everyone else (there's a lot of turnover in theatre) and the administrative side gets to meet the creative side and visa verse. This time we discussed our next production- Harold Pinter's Betrayal, a play about, well, betrayal. There are three people involved- a married couple and the husband's best man. There are affairs had by many but the affairs aren't really the point. The point of the play is really different forms of betrayal and how we as people react to them.

Towards the end of the discussion, the director made a point that really resonated with me. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, once you betray yourself, it becomes easier to betray others. One of the characters feels he betrayed himself by not being creatively satisfied like he thought he would be, and that character is the one who sets off the chain reaction. The director's statement started me thinking about my goals and compromises I've made. I started to panic a little. (Is panic something on a scale or is it one of those all or nothing things?) The characters in the play weren't that old when the whole thing started. It's not like they were in their 70s looking back at their perceived failures. These characters are in their 30s feeling like they bamboozled themselves. I'm 28 and starting to feel the same way.

I truly, legitimately fear few things. I may have my moments of "omg I have cancer again" but I never really mean it. I don't fear zombies- why fear an imminent reality? What rightly frightens me is exactly what this play is about- betraying oneself. I support my friends and family in their dreams and aspirations because I don't want them to look back on their lives and think woulda, shoulda, coulda. I want my loved ones to think they stayed true to what they wanted. That is incredibly important to me. But most importantly I want that for myself. If I look back on my life with regret, that regret will reach beyond the confines of my own world. My mother's regret hangs around me in an ever present fog. I can't stand that happening to my children, my husband, my friends. That's when I begin to betray them. And that's unacceptable.

Giving up the comfort of the known for the unknown is a terrifying thing. But we wouldn't be where we are as a society if people weren't true to themselves and their dreams. I struggle with the choices I've made possibly limiting the choices I have left. I'm making the best of things, but that's not the best I can do. I owe it not only to myself to strive for my dream, I owe it to everyone around me.

December 28, 2009

All You Need to Know

It appears our current collection of coffee table books are all too telling:

Liberal bias? Check.
Love of bad puns? Check.
Love of kitties? Check.
Beautiful art? Check.

Just about covers it. All that is missing is a book about existential crises. Then we'd be spelled out for you.

Just in Time for the 2010 Census

Mike sold his car on Saturday. We are officially a one car household. For me, nothing has changed- except I added Mike to my auto insurance policy (for a whopping extra $2 a month). We weren't using the second car and whenever it needed to be moved due to parking Mike did all the moving. It was out of my sight and out of my mind. Mike, however, is free two huge financial burdens- his insurance policy and auto payment. He was going to have the car paid off by summer but for what? A just-in-case-car? That's lame.

I'm a little nervous. I'm glad we live somewhere that I can move around by bus. It's not the easiest sometimes but apparently I'm psychic and got a dentist and a doctor on bus lines. What makes me nervous is the question about whether or not having a car at my disposal tethers me professionally to Albany. In the short term it does. In the long term maybe not. With no car payments between the two of us we can save up for an inexpensive car should it be needed and Mike's not going to be working so far away for ever. This is an overall great thing. I just need to get used to the reality of one car for the first time in my life.

The changes that I need to implement immediately are directly attached to my attitude. I need to be more willing to be the one picking up and dropping off at times. Right now I'm not so easy going about that. I need to be better at planning my time that requires a car and communicating that with Mike. Once I get those changes going it will be much better and much smoother. Until we get into that rhythm it's going to be bumpy. I really hope this pays off. Literally.

December 23, 2009

Bring on the Magic

While watching Home Alone last night I wondered which Christmas memory a grown Kevin McCallister would cherish the most. I mean, the kid had two pretty fantastical Christmases but that doesn't necessarily mean either of those two were his favorite. Maybe his favorite was when he got the one special gift he'd pined for all year. Maybe it was one he spent alone on purpose and celebrated how he wanted to. Or maybe his favorite was when he first spent it with the woman he loved. We'll never know. He is fictional after all. But I started to wonder if I had a favorite Christmas or even a favorite Christmas memory.

Lst year Mike asked me to be his wife during Christmastime. That's my list topper for sure. But in terms of Christmases farther back nothing really strikes me. I have distinct memories that hold a special place in my heart. There was a Christmas Mass in which, as an alter server, I did something at the wrong time and had to stand in the middle of the alter until the right time, which wasn't soon. One year, my brother tried to guess what toy I got him and announced the item I got him was stupid. I also remember when I figured out that Santa and the Easter Bunny had the same handwriting and that handwriting looked suspiciously like my dad's. I once donated money to an animal shelter in my mother's name and she didn't understand what I did because she couldn't stop looking at the injured cat featured on the website.

Don't get me wrong. I was very fortunate to celebrate a Christmas every year and my parents worked really hard to make each year something special. My family was blessed and I'm eternally grateful for that. I suppose what I'm getting at is that I don't have my own "Christmas Story." What I do have is years and years of white Christmases filled with warmth and magic. The Christmas tree silhouetted against a fireplace. Silent snow fall. Random Christmas movies. These are the things I hold dear from Christmases past. I can't wait to see what's in store in Mike's and my future.

December 17, 2009

I Just Want Us All to Be Healthy

Am I an asshole for only providing vegetables as dipping items for my spinach dip?

December 16, 2009

Oh Baby It's Christmas

Word on the street is my beloved Y branch might be closing due to financial woes. I've been signing petitions and contacting fellow members to see what we can do to stop it from closing. I'm also thinking of starting an email campaign. I understand that it's been operating in a deficit for twenty years but so has my theatre and we're not closing. The Y is more than a gym- it's a refuge. It's the only branch that serves an immobile population of Albany. The majority of members of this branch don't have cars (either by choice or financial necessity) and the location is vital to helping at risk youth stay out of dangerous situations. I'm going to do all I can to help keep it open. We'll know in January what the plan is, it's just a waiting game at this stage. It's the only gym I can go to during the week- it's on the way to work; the hours are the best; and it has a pool. The other branch in Albany that I can go to isn't on a bus line so I can't get to it without a car. It's a total bummer.

So to cheer me and anyone else reading this bummed out by that info I'm posting some Christmas songs that I didn't post last year. I'm still on Mission New-Christmas-Music but this year I didn't really find anything I'm really gaga over but I do enjoy Jack's Mannequin's "The Lights and the Buzz." Jack's Mannequin is the new project of the singer of Something Corporate, the now defunct piano rock band of the early 2000s. Check it out but make sure you turn the volume down- this one's really loud:

Last year I failed to post one of my three favorites- Wham's "Last Christmas." I just can't get enough of this song. My friend PJ played U2's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on repeat for two hours last year because he loves it so much. I think that's how much I love this song. I have a question for you: Do you think she gave George's heart away the very next day because he whispered "I can do this" every time they had sex? Or was it something else? Like maybe his proclivity for making out with dudes?

Nothing is wrong with your eyesight. Please forgive the blurry video.

This next ditty was introduced to me two years ago by my friend Tania. It's a hilarious cover of a Tom Heinl song called "The Christmas Tree's On Fire." This is the third favorite Christmas song. (I can't remember if I even know what my first is. It might be Sarah McLachlan's cover of "Merry X-Mas" or it's Bing and Bowie... oh man it's so tough! It's my own personal Sophie's choice.) Pay attention to the final musical phrase. It's what makes the song for me.


I'm probably forgetting some really awesome tunes. If so, let me know. Have you found any new songs that get you in the cockles? Share in the comments?

December 11, 2009

Some Silliness

This is a compilation of clips using the same scream. Apparently the "Wilhelm Scream" is now used as an in joke with sound designers.

I found this on An awesome comedy site that I read daily.

December 9, 2009

Maybe You Got Me on the Day They Ran Out of Cookies

Freshman year of college I took both dramatic literature classes I needed to graduate. Looking back I wish I took them a little later when I could really appreciate the plays I was reading. Though I enjoyed both courses I really, very much enjoyed my modern dramatic literature course with my mentor. He has this wonderful way of taking what you thought you knew and turning it on its ear. For example, there was a play in his curriculum that messed with the idea of what is real called Six Characters in Search of an Author- a totally messed up Italian play by a fellow named Luigi Pirandello that caused riots on opening night. When a play causes European audiences to freak out, you've got something that really messes with you.

My professor's discussion was centered around the theme of "what is reality?" In the play six characters show up at the rehearsal of a different play looking for an author to finish telling their story. There is the reality of the Characters and the reality of the Actors. Each group thinks they know what reality means and that they are the ones living it. It made sense to me theatrically but when we began to discuss what we each perceive to be reality, that reality isn't the same for everyone, I was totally mind blown. My professor proceeded to use the example of our personalities- I am confident in what I know my personality to be, but someone else perceives my personality totally differently. When I was eighteen I couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that someone could think I was a total jerk when so many other people think I'm the epitome of nice.

Ten years later I don't find that to be such a stretch. I'm self aware enough to know that I'm not the same person around everyone. When I was younger I was so concerned with what people thought of me and how I treated other people that I tried to be the same to everyone. The older I got the more I realized that I wasn't being true to myself or to other people. Sometimes I think I've lost my patience since I came to that realization. But for the most part I find myself a lot less tense about my relationships with people. Being honest to myself has helped me be honest with other people. And that's really freeing.

So when someone thinks I'm a bitch, I'm okay with it. Maybe I was bitchy at the moment I interacted with them. If they think that about me then they obviously don't know me all that well, do they? I have moments where I'm not nice or patient (see above) but overall I like to think that coming to the realization that I can't be the same thing to everyone has made me a better, truer person.

December 4, 2009

The Beginning of Something Worse?

I've begun having nightmares about my wedding. Last night was a doozy. I dreamt I didn't finish making the bouquets so only some of the bridesmaids had flowers, I didn't order my bouquet or Mike's boutonniere, my dress didn't fit, my brother and dad had to fly out the night of my wedding so when I was running late after all this they were yelling at my sister to get me to hurry up, I was alone getting ready and kept ruining my make-up, the flower for my hair was flopping around, my hairpiece wasn't staying put, and I was marrying the wrong dude.

None of that will happen. Right?

December 2, 2009

The Season For What Exactly?

Michael is one of the hardest people to shop for. Seriously. He drives by a Walmart on his way home from work, stops in and buys the most random stuff all the friggin' time. It can be stuff I know he wanted or stuff that was so cheap he bought it on a lark. Last year I forbade him from buying anything between a week before Thanksgiving and Christmas and the asshole still bought crap. When he picked me up from the airport the week of Thanksgiving, he excitedly pulled out the new Vampire Weekend CD so we could listen to it on the way home. Guess what I bought him a week or two before at a Border's closing sale? THE SAME VAMPIRE WEEKEND CD. I started yelling at him about how he wasn't supposed to buy anything and he had no idea what was going on. I calmed down enough to explain that that CD was sitting at home waiting to be wrapped for Christmas. He was a little sheepish after that. We ended up giving the stupid thing to his brother.

So this Christmas again proved challenging. Since we took ourselves to New York for a play and a really nice brunch, Mike has called a moratorium on gifts. Part of the problem with that is I accidentally found a present he was going to give me- and is still going to give me- on Christmas. So he's still giving me something. This whole time I've been wanting to get him some running gear. We were talking tonight before dinner when he stated his moratorium. I started to get a little bummed and told him I was buying him something anyway because the gift I want to get him is for his safety- a reflective vest for running in the dark. He was like, "if it's for my safety why are you waiting until Christmas?" I stood by the fact that he's IMPOSSIBLE to shop for and this was something I know he wouldn't buy himself and would use. Through his cackling laughter he started to ready for a night run and said, "I really hope I don't get run over by a bus while I'm on my run because you just had to wait for Christmas."

Merry Christmas indeed.

December 1, 2009

And I Never Learned How to Play the Piano

I'm totally going blind. My left eyeball has a bubble on the surface and I don't know what it is! I know better than to look it up on WebMD because it'll only tell me I have cancer or AIDS. And unless I have AIDS-of-the-Eye-Cancer, it's safe to assume that WebMD is useless to my plight. I just got health coverage today but I don't have any policy information so if this eyeball bubble gets bigger I can't really just go to the doctor. Oh my God I hope it just goes away. Otherwise I need to get cracking on some stuff. Like memorizing some poetry or something. I don't know how I'll do that in Braille.